Appreciation can’t be faked.
So how do we create a safe environment for feedback? It begins in the heart of each individual on the team. I have to ask myself if I am content to only receive affirmation or do I truly want to get the feedback that I need to get better. The answer is found in the story that I choose to tell myself. If I believe that the team is good enough, that my way is the way to do things, then I don’t really want feedback. The “good enough” team doesn’t really need it because I know what I am doing and I don’t need a second opinion. I may get offended if someone punctures my airtight narrative with information that just doesn’t fit. The source of the feedback can’t possibly know what they are talking about since they don’t really know the ins and outs of the team like I do. However, if I choose to believe that my team’s success is contingent on its ability to change and grow incrementally over time and that I don’t have all the answers, then I will welcome feedback. I will consider everything that could potentially help my team. The stories that we allow to be told stem directly from the stories that we choose to believe. Those stories are not told with words but with the consistent response to the stories of others.